Monday, September 24, 2007

Cheers Tim

Just time to say a belated farewell to Tim Henman following his final Davis Cup match on Saturday. Henman will of course be remembered primarily for not winning Wimbledon despite reaching the Semi-Finals on three occasions, but in my view he was a better player than many who did manage to win the prestigious title.

Many believe that Henman just didn't have what it took to win a major. One very senior BBC sports journalist once remarked to me that he thought the man "wasn't right in the head." I just think he was unlucky - for three reasons.

Firstly, he had the rank misfortune to arrive at the top of the game at the same time as the greatest grass-court player of all time, Pete Sampras, who beat Henman twice in the Quarter Finals at Wimbledon and once in the semis. Secondly, the decision by the Wimbledon organisers to reduce the pressure of the balls in an attempt to curb the domination by serve-and-vollery merchants mitigated against Henman's game. And thirdly, and most memorably, he was deprived of his best opportunity to reach a Wimbledon final by the rain in 2001, at a point where he had the beating of Goran Ivanisevic.

Many people seem to view Henman as another Great British Loser in the tradition of Eddie the Eagle Edwards. For my part, I think he was one of the foremost British sporting heroes of the past 15 years.

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Rob's uncle said...

Re: ' . . mitigated against Henman's game.' You mean to write 'militated', I suggest?

Anonymous said...

With the trades and acquisitions made going into the draft, plus the bulk of the team that is carried over from last season, and the trades and draft picks made during the draft, it sure seems like the Pats are going to be the team to beat in the AFC this season, and perhaps in all of the NFL.

Considering the Pats were almost in the Superbowl last season with a pathetic receiving corps and that they've added very talented players into said receiving corps this season, barring some nasty injury(ies), they look to be the team to take it all.I say injury(ies) because I think they could survive an injury or two to some positions, but if they lost Brady they'd probably have a hard time recovering.

I wish I could say that the Redskins did well in the draft and/or in free agency but so many holes still exist that I'm not sure they'll be significantly better than last season. I suppose on face they should be if they can keep their corners healthy. With Landry (argh, hard to type that name as a Redskin!!) back there with a healthy secondary they might be able to cheat up more and put more pressure on opposing QBs. Might.

They still have what should be a lot of talent in the receiving positions, and Campbell should be better, but they don't have the quality on either line (offense or defense) that I wish they'd have, so it could be yet another year of .500 at best, or worse.

Still, the NFC East looks to be the NFC Least again this season. None of the teams there look like they'll be that good, and none really look ready to step up and take the division.

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